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Being a multiple graded-stakes winner, Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC's Four Graces is a prime broodmare prospect. While it is undeniably her ultimate destiny, the 5-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection apparently is in no hurry to become a mother.
Four Graces is scheduled to make her third start off a layoff in Saturday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, where she has made a solid case to continue her racing career by finishing a close-up second in an Jan. 6 optional claiming allowance and a solid second in the Jan. 29 Inside Information (G2)
"[Retirement] was on the table, but it was the timing of things that we were able to give her a shot. It was still early enough that if something flared up or she had a setback, we could turn a different avenue and make her a broodmare," trainer Ian Wilkes said. "Touch wood, she's very good right now. She's doing good. Hopefully, we can keep going for a while and next year she can become a broodmare."
The Hurricane Bertie, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares, will be co-featured on Saturday's program with the $100,000 Captiva Island, a five-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares.
Race 7 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 12 - Post 3:35 PM
|1||Bramble Berry||8-1||Edwin Gonzalez
|2||Feeling Mischief||12-1||Corey Lanerie
|4||Starship Nala||6-1||Miguel Vasquez
|5||Four Graces||9-5||Julien Leparoux
|6||My Destiny||5-1||Romero Maragh
Four Graces won her career debut at Gulfstream March 1, 2020, before going on to win the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs and the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland, both at seven furlongs, later that year. The homebred sprinter went to the sidelines following a poor showing in the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland in October 2020 and had been out of action, with the exception of a fourth-place finish in an overnight stakes at Churchill last June, until she came back strong Jan. 6.
"She had a couple of different things that required some time. That's why I've been playing a little bit of a catch-up game. She's needed the racing because I went 14 months with just one race," Wilkes said. "Now, this will be her third race back in succession. She's in a nice rhythm."
Four Graces rallied from seventh to finish second, beaten less than a length by Brad Cox-trained Just One Time, in the seven-furlong Inside Information.
"I'm very happy with her performances so far. They have been very workmanlike. In her first race she lost the bob in a photo. She came back to run a huge second to Brad's filly," Wilkes said. "She's trained forward since then. I'm very happy with the way she's training."
Although Four Graces won back-to-back graded-stakes from gate to wire in 2020, Wilkes doesn't expect her to set or press the pace in the Hurricane Bertie.
"She's the one who has dropped off the pace a bit more. It's nothing I've trained her to do. She always wanted to lay up close, but this campaign, she been sitting a bit off the speed, and that's her doing," Wilkes said. "I think it's maturity. The older you get you realize you don't have to go 110 to accomplish things."
Julien Leparoux has the return mount aboard Four Graces.
Juddmonte's Obligatory is scheduled to make her first start since capturing the Nov. 30 Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old daughter of Curlin won the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill and finished second in the Test (G1) at Saratoga earlier in the year.
Obligatory broke her maiden impressively at Gulfstream in her second career start to kick off her 2021 campaign.
Tyler Gaffalione is scheduled to ride Obligatory for the first time in the Hurricane Bertie.
Starship Stables and trainer Steve Dwoskin's Starship Nala, who nosed out Four Graces Jan. 6, will seek to improve on a fourth-place finish in the Inside Information, in which she made a middle move into contention before weakening to fourth.
Miguel Vasquez has the call aboard the Florida-bred daughter of Capo Bastone.
Sam Wilensky's My Destiny, also a 5-year-old daughter of Majesticperfection, enters the Hurricane Bertie off a loss by a nose in the Minaret at Tampa Bay Downs.
Romero Maragh is slated to ride My Destiny for the first time Saturday.
Ryzan Sun Racing LLC's Bramble Berry enters the Hurricane Bertie off a dominating optional claiming allowance score, in which he defeated Music City Star, who came back to win Wednesday's feature at Gulfstream. Edwin Gonzalez has the return call on the Herman Wilensky-trained mare.
Mellon Patch Inc.'s Feeling Mischief, who finished third in the Minaret last time out, round out the field. Trainer Michael Campbell named Corey Lanerie to ride the 4-year-old daughter of Into Mischief.
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